As many of you already know, I am dedicated to bringing answers to questions each Week that I come across. This week is no different, as I continue to navigate (7) difficult but extremely important segments for an organizations long-term growth and survival. This week in particular, I have had a tremendous amount of inquirers into Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and it’s (the systems) effect(s) on business performance & sales, which just happen to be some of the things I have been researching over the last 3+ years, as part of my Doctoral work. What is crazy to think about is that every day I ask clients and individuals if they are familiar with CRM? They usually respond with the answer Yes! So, why the inquires now? Next question… what system are you using and/or what are you doing with the data you collect? Much to our surprise, many of you are still using the basic CRM systems such as Microsoft Dynamics, ACT, Capsule, etc. Why is it that more of you have not moved yet to Sugar, Salesforce, Zoho, etc. so you can collect more data and sales leads integrated with your website of blog? If you are like most people a CRM system is something you probably bought or subscribed to in order to help you remain better organized and track issues (contact manager)… Yes? Ill, if so let’s take a minute to look at some of the latest research trends and “statistics” in order to see if I might be able to make CRM (whatever system you use) work for you “more sales & retention”… not against you in order to produce some sort of Return On Investment (ROI).
So… What Needs are YOU looking for?
When a person or organization begins to look for a CRM provider or system, you will soon realize that there are tons “thousands it seems” of solutions available to fit almost any need, just like with Professional Employer Organizations (PEO), Mobile Solutions, or Social Media (SM). However, the one question you must ask yourself first with CRM much like the others, is what are you trying to accomplish with it (CRM) and how can you pull everything together? If you are like any normal person or organization, you should also be asking yourself what ROI will whatever system I (you) chose produce for me? The answer is simple… pick a system that allows you to retrieve information (i.e. offer white papers in exchange for contact information) and store it, so you can turn this information into leads and a resource, just like with social media… use the data to convert more inquires into sales, Yes? Also, let’s not forget to ask ourselves how can you (I) share information or help your (our) customers with the information and/or analyze the data I (you) collect with a CRM system to produce ROI?
A CRM Implementation is the most Effective way to Maintain Relationships
Just like social media or wireless device innovations (iphone, ipad, droid, etc), CRM (bringing systems together) should not be about what other people/businesses are doing but instead about what you and/or your personal or business needs are or in other words “what the customer wants.” With almost any PERFECT CRM implementation (on the behalf of the customer & organization), you should see customer retention and sales COSTs decline overtime and organizational or personal profits increase over that extended period of time if utilized correctly. In a recent study it was found that “social” CRM or in other words social media CRM can help an organization or more importantly its sales force increase productivity and benefit by as little as +12% if used correctly. What’s more, is that this same study produced by Nucleus Research found that on average 21% of those people (organizations) or sales forces that use(d) social CRM, seen sales increases as much as 20%. Furthermore, this statistic equates to approximately 4 out of 5 companies that use/subscribe to a social CRM approach and integrate external sources such as Facebook, Twitter, FourSqaure, EmpireAvenue, etc with their CRM application(s) could expect returns (ROI) as high as 47%… crazy huh? What is even more shocking is that this particular course of action does not even take into account your mobile campaigns (25% increases), or RSS feeds through Pinterest, Tumblr, StumbleUpon, Etc (additional 22% increases).
So, What are you Waiting FOR?
Since the research and data points to increases in response, interaction, retention, and sales why are so many people (organizations) still reluctant to use and/or subscribe to a “Social CRM” solution? Or more importantly why are you (your team) not using mobile CRM applications (i.e. especially on your mobile) to convert leads into sales? The fact is and from my conversations, there are that still many people that still do not understand how all these systems work together or how to put all the pieces together or leave a footprint behind when meeting or following up with someone. In the Nucleus study, it was clear why; as only 16% of the 223 executives actually knew that, this was a total approach to business evolution, retention, and additional sales, which is hard to believe. Perhaps as more people turn to social media to solve customer issues left on sites such as Yelp, Google, Yahoo, etc. and by participating more in sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. more people will understand that CRM (especially mobile, as this has shown to increase productivity by +20%) should/will be an important part of their overall long-term strategy of conversing, linking, and connecting the dots (i.e. or at least a part of the solution) to increase sales.
From this short but direct post, I hope that you (your organization) realize the benefits that CRM, social media, and mobile campaigns can/will have on your overall success. As we continue to move further away from websites and more towards mobile phones, blogs, and social media for interaction, we will continue to rely upon CRM to help us stay connected to our friends, followers, and clients. If you have not yet made a decision on a social media, CRM, or mobile strategy don’t worry, as you still have time to make a decision. The important part is that you now start to think about it and about how all these systems work or can work together to help you and your team excel. Not only are these systems important to you but also to me, as these are large components to his research and the results that will be reported in his dissertation over the next several months. Therefore, if you would like more information or to participate in his study, please feel free to drop us a line or contact me directly by posting a comment. Otherwise, and like usual I will look forward to seeing you right back here next Week with another Q&A session brought to you… well, by YOU! Cheers!
In different markets across the globe there are still many organizations out there that are still undeveloped or lack a clear understanding of the real benefits that CRM can provide their company and long-term strategies. It is no secret that a company’s relationship with its customers cannot only strengthen the organization internally but also externally by providing its customers with superior service and added benefits. Therefore, if organizations want to achieve higher customer retention, customer acquisition, and customer development and/or want their customers to be more satisfied, thus increasing the organizations revenues and profitability then more companies will have to build different systems or focus on different customer behaviors based on company, size, and location.